US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on Thursday, openly admitted the US had encouraged protests in Russia after Vladimir Putin's United Russia party held on to power in the most recent elections.
Clinton didn't deny Putin's accusation that she was stirring up trouble and backing protests in Russia. Instead, she responded by saying her having done so "doesn't justify Russian military counter-measures" taken once the protests erupted.
The secretary added the United States was not alone in "expressing concerns" over voting irregularities.
"Human rights is a part of who we are. And we expressed concerns that we thought were well founded about the conduct of the elections," she said.
"We are supportive of the rights and aspirations of the Russian people to be able to make progress and realize a better future for themselves," Clinton added.
The prime minister had accused the United States of encouraging protests over Russia's parliamentary election. He also asserted hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign funds – mostly American – were used to fund the campaigns of opposition parties.
In his first public remarks about daily demonstrations by protesters alleging Sunday's vote was fraudulent and unfair, Putin said the secretary of state "gave a signal" to Kremlin opponents.
"She set the tone for some opposition activists, gave them a signal, they heard this signal and started active work," he said.
Putin's allegations that the US tried to buy Russia's vote and then moved to spark protests after it failed to achieve victory is not unique – following on the heels of revelations that the State Department routed $200 million in funds through USAID to liberal and pro-western parties in Egypt hoping to influence elections there as well.
Similar reports of US foreign aid dollars finding their way into the coffers of foreign political parties emerged during Kenya’s most recent electoral contest as well.
Political analysts say the Obama administration has established a clear pattern of routing foreign aid earmarked for “infrastructure” and “cultural development” in recipient countries into the coffers of foreign political parties and NGOs as a means of influencing foreign elections and institutions.
In Israel, numerous NGOs receive ostensibly receive USAID funds for “cultural development” while promoting political agendas that support US foreign policy over Israel’s national interests.
Clinton did not comment on whether or not US funding of domestic Russian political parties could be considered "irregular," or might violate the right of Russia's population to determine who will lead them absent foreign influence.